Engagement Vidhi in the U.S.A. (Hindu Engagement)
Since 1960, tens of thousands of Indians have gradually arrived and made homes in most if the U.S.A. Kids born in these families have been raised on the American soil and are also settling down in America. Despite being born and brought up far away from home, these kids have deep rooted connections with their Hindu Culture & way of life. This can be attributed to their active participation in cultural activities locally (e.g. Marriages), movies (Indian Bollywood), friends & relatives and possibly a strict family upbringing.
Most of these Indians choose soul mates/marriage partners, within the Indian culture. Others however cross over the cultural boundary and get engaged to soul mates of a different religion, color and language but USA residents. When eventually the engagement period is on, these Hindu’s avail their soul mates for the Hindu way of married life. To the Hindu, it is quite a noble heritage.
The Hindu Engagement (Last 45 Minutes) – Engagement Vidhi
Tradition demands that the Hindu Engagement Ceremony should be done months prior to the marriage. The ceremony’s main goal is to make a formal announcement that a new marriage is on the horizon. This should alert the concerned family members, friends and relatives to start planning for the actual marriage. The parents to the soul mates play the key role during in a Hindu Engagement. The father of the husband to be is expected to ask the bride’s father a hand in marriage of their daughter. The ceremony goes on a series of interesting events informed by the Hindu culture; 1. The Boy’s father requests the girl’s father a hand in marriage of his daughter on behalf of his son. The girl’s father has to make sure that the boy to whom his daughter is getting married has no skeletons in his house. 2. The Girl’s father and the daughter suggest a marriage date as per Muhurtam. The Boy’s father and the husband to be reconfirm their proposal.
3. If convinced and satisfied, the girl’s father tells the boy’s father to ensure that his daughter is well taken care of. There should be satisfaction on both sides. 4. If the two fathers are in agreement, the girl’s father announces to all present a wedding date. 5. The wife to be prays Shachi to get a successful marriage. Five women present do the Mangal Aarati to the bride.
6. Ashirvad – The couple can now exchange their engagement rings. 7. The Hindu Engagement ends as the newly engaged receive blessings and good luck wishes from those present. From now henceforth the couple acquire new names i.e. Bride & Groom but they will actually become before the Wedding). Materials: · 7 Chairs · A Coffee Table (for the Pooja) · A Shri Ganesh Idol · Kalash · Ten Beetle leaves · Halad/Kunku · Gandha or Chandan · A Bell · Candles · Neeranjan · An Oil Lamp (Aarati) · Fresh Flowers · Udbatti · Ten Supaari · Two Coconuts · Naivaidhya · Halkunda (Whole Haladi)
More than half of marriages involving a Hindu partner in the U.S.A are usually between a Non-Hindu and a Hindu. This makes a Hindu Engagement unique and different when compared to engagements between two Hindus back in India.
They have to consider some aspects of a Hindu engagement arising from the different cultures e.g;
- · Social Aspects
- · Legal Aspects
- · Religious Aspects
It is of importance for the non-Hindu to understand the basics of Hinduism and be familiar with the differences.
Hindu engagements are similar throughout India but details vary either due to family traditions or regional differences between different parts of the country. These variations play a role in the different types of Hindu engagements experienced throughout the U.S.A.
Hindu’s are culturally sensitive hence need to blend in the Hindu engagement traditions and the western logistical realities in a way that the end product is tailored not only to both the Hindu spouse and partner but to the cultural needs of the two.